Showing posts with label USC Trojans. Show all posts
Showing posts with label USC Trojans. Show all posts

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Wesley Iwundu Leads K-State; USC Tops Providence on Benny Boatwright's 24

College Hoops Player of the Day for Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Senior forward Wesley Iwundu's 24 points were instrumental in leading the Kansas State Wildcats to a 95-88 victory over Wake Forest in one of Tuesday night's "First Four" match-ups.

Iwundu, a senior, averaged just 12.4 points per game this season, but came up big in the high-scoring affair, hitting on six of nine shots from the field and making 11 of 13 free throws to go with his six rebounds and seven assists.

The Wildcats shot an incredible 66% from the field (31-for-47) and also out-rebounded the Demon Deacons, 29-21. Kansas State will play Cincinnati, the #6 seed in the South region, Friday in Sacramento.

In the early game, Mount St. Mary's squeaked by New Orleans, 67-66 and advances to play #1 tournament seed, Villanova Thursday.

College Hoops Player of the Day for Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Benny Boatwright's game-high 24 points lifted the USC Trojans to a 75-71 victory over the Providence Friars in Wednesday's edition of the NCAA Tournament "First Four" play-in games.

Boatwright was 8-for-16 with three three-pointers. The 6'10" sophomore added seven boards and chipped in three assists. The Trojans - one of just four PAC-12 teams invited to the tourney - lifted the conference profile with the win and will have an opportunity to do more resume-building when they they meet East Region #6 seed SMU on Friday.

The other play-in contest on Wednesday saw the Aggies from UC Davis win their first NCAA tournament game in school history, topping North Carolina Central, 67-63.

The Aggies have a date with the #1 seed in the Midwest region, Kansas, on Friday.

Tomorrow: Thursday night results and the first appearance of the CBD Tournament Conference Scoreboard.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Bracket Madness: Tuesday and Wednesday Play-in Games Preview

OK, so nobody has to actually pick these Tuesday and Wednesday play-in games. That's the good news. The bad news is that no matter what, the NCAA tournament committee will believe that college hoops fans actually like the idea of having an extra four teams added for no other reason than to make the field larger or more competitive, when all along the idea was just to fill empty space in some network's otherwise dull content.

These games offer nothing to the brocketologists out there except to make their lives a little more difficult. All of the bracket challenges, in either online form or though your work or office are set up to just include the winner of these games, no matter which team wins. The problem is that one or the other may win, and set up a completely different match-up in (what now is) the second round. It's just confusing and the NCAA should go back to the straight 64-team format that has worked so well for so long.

Actually, adding these extra teams and games somewhat backfired on the NCAA selection committee only because they chose the wrong teams! Colorado should be in the tournament, along with Harvard and probably Virginia Tech and St. Mary's.

Whatever the outcome of these games, they're unnecessary and will likely have almost no impact on the overall tournament, so, be that as it may, let's analyze what we've been given.

Tuesday, March 15:

Play-in Game 1: North Carolina-Asheville vs. Arkansas Little Rock (Southeast Region) 6:30 pm ET - this gets a really, really big WHO CARES? because the winner will be up against the tp seed in the region, the Pittsburgh Panthers and they will lose, badly. If it's any consolation, the NC-Asheville Bulldogs got the automatic bid by winning the Big South tournament over Coastal Carolina in the final. They are however one of the dreaded 13-loss teams in the tournament and show pretty substantial losses to North Carolina, Georgetown and Ohio State. The Buckeyes nearly doubled them over, winning 96-49 back in December. The Bulldogs beat Auburn the first game of the season. Big whoop! They are, however, on a six-game winning streak.

Their opponent, Arkansas-Little Rock snuck into the tournament by beating North Texas in the Sun Belt tourney final, 64-63. The Trojans won four straight in the tournament and shocked even themselves and their coaches. Making these guys even more improbable, is their 19-16 record, not even a game against a ranked opponent and they finished with the 8th best record in their conference, at 7-9.

ADVICE: Take the kids from Asheville. At least they lost fewer games. Pitt will murder either of these teams.

Play-in Game 2: Clemson vs. UAB (East Region) 9:00 pm ET - This one is even worse. The Blazers blazed their way through the most overrated conference in America, Conference USA, winning the regular season with a 12-4 record. They lost to East Carolina, 75-70 in OT in the first round of their conference tournament (eventually won by Memphis). The Blazers did finish the season with a 22-8 record, though the bulk of those wins were over weak C-USA competition.

Clemson (21-11, 9-7) had a pretty solid season and sports a fine back-court, led by point guard Demontez Stitt, who led the Tigers in scoring, assists and steals. Clemson should be able to dominate the Blazers inside as well and it's a wonder the line is only -4 1/2. Clemson has an idea about winning tournament games and could easily advance in the next round, against a leaderless West Virginia squad. We'll have to wait and see.

ADVICE: Take the Tigers here and over WVA in the next round if you are playing some wide open brackets.

Wednesday, March 16:

Play-in Game #3: UTSA vs. Alabama State (East Region) 6:30 pm ET - Seriously, Alabama State was 17-17. There should be a rule that you can't get in if your team is .500 or worse, but the Hornets won the SWAC Tournament, so they get to play another game. The UTSA Roadrunners (let's hope there are no Wile E. Coyotes in the field) won the Southland tournament and here they are, complete with 19-13 record.

ADVICE: Hope the game is cancelled and Ohio State is given a bye, because neither of these teams stands a change against the Buckeyes.

Play-in Game 4: VCU vs. USC (Southwest Region) 9:00 pm ET - This game is at least interesting in that either team can win and have a chance against Georgetown, the #6 seed in the East, because Georgetown faded in the stretch and while they will have the services of point guard Chris Wright, but he has been out of action since mid-February and the Hoyas lost five of their last six, beating only South Florida.

VCU finished 4th in the Colonial Athletic and lost in the tourney final to Old Dominion. They sport some senior leadership and and compiled a 23-11 record over mostly nobody. They did beat UCLA and Wofford, though, and merit some respect. USC finished 4th in the PAC-10 with a 10-8 record and managed to beat both Texas and Tennessee and lost by just two points at Kansas. The Trojans have been up and down, but they're far more athletic than VCU and should win this one going away. Oddsmakers have them as a 4 1/2 point favorite, but they probably did that to encourage more people to take VCU.

ADVICE: USC played spirited ball down the stretch, winning six of their last seven and lost to Arizona in the conference tourney. They are surely well-rested and should also give Georgetown fits n the next round.

Check back tomorrow and every day for frequent updates on the Road to Houston and the Final Four.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Trojans Stop Wildcat Win Streak at 8 Behind Vucevic's 25

College Hoops Player of the Day for Thursday, February 24, 2011

Perhaps it's a bit late in the season, but the PAC-10 is beginning to evolve. What looked like a three-horse race became a quartet on Thursday as USC upset #10 Arizona, 65-57, snapping the Wildcats' 8-game win streak, in a must-win situation for the Trojans.

USC was in danger of falling below .500 in the conference, a move that might have put a permanent mark on their resume for inclusion in the post-season proceedings, but junior forward Nikola Vucevic made certain the Trojans would live to fight another day with his fifth straight double-double, pouring in 25 points and ripping down 12 rebounds. It was his 16th double-double of the season and above his average of 17.4 points and 10.3 rebounds.

The win brought USC to 8-7 in the conference, and, combined with earlier out-of-conference wins over Texas and Tennessee, the Trojans - winners of three straight - now appear poised to receive an NCAA invitation, despite their perplexing 16-12 record.

With Arizona falling to 12-3 in the conference, their path to the regular season title becomes a bit more complex, especially with UCLA - 71-53 winners over Arizona State - now just one game back at 11-4. Arizona plays at UCLA on Saturday.

NOTABLE: Another team needing a signature win on Thursday night was Marquette, and the Golden Eagles made their most of their trip to Connecticut, dropping the Huskies, 74-67, in overtime. The result put both teams at 8-7 in the crowded Big East, where the top 11 teams are 8-7 or better and all have a chance of making the NCAA tournament.

Atop the Big East standings, Pitt retained their two-game lead over Notre Dame, with a 71-58 win over West Virginia, another 8-7 team.

The #13 Florida Gators virtually ensured that they would win the SEC East with a 71-62 home win over Georgia. The Gators are 11-2 in the conference, three games ahead of Vanderbilt (8-5), though the Gators still have to play three of the best teams in the SEC - Kentucky, Alabama and Vandy - to close out the regular season.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Freshman Jones, Junior Vucevic Lead USC Past Santa Clara

College Hoops Player of the Day for Monday, November 15, 2010

Last season was a seriously down year for the PAC-10, usually one of the stronger conferences in the national basketball elite, as they sent only two teams - Cal and Washington - to the NCAA tournament.

As a whole, the conference seeks to turn things around in 2010-11, with freshmen adding some spark to otherwise mundane lineups. Down the coast at USC, the Trojans may have found themselves a little magic - and we do mean little - in 5'7" freshman guard, Maurice Jones who lit up Santa Clara for 29 points as the Trojans rolled to their second win of the season, 86-73.

Jones hit 10 of 20 shots from the floor, including 2 of 3 three-point attempts, was 7-for-10 from the charity stripe and dealt four assists. The little man was aided in his offense by USC's big man, 6'10" Nikola Vucevic, who recorded his second double-double with 22 points and 11 boards.

With the nice blend of size and inside-outside play, the Trojans, who were just 16-14 last season, seek a return to top form and a trip to the Big Dance in March. While most of their PAC-10 counterparts are also trying to put together cohesive squads, the Trojans seem to have found a combination that works, thus far.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

USC Wins First PAC-10 Tourney Title

USC 66, Arizona St. 63

Down by 15 points at the half, the USC Trojans battled all the way back, finally taking a 64-63 lead on a pair of Daniel Hackett free throws with 43 seconds left and Taj Gibson blocked a potential game-tying shot to hold off the Sun Devils and win their first PAC-10 title in the 12-year history of the tournament.

The Trojans fell behind 39-24 at the break, but outscored Arizona State 42-24 in the second half, with a combination of stout defense and timely shooting, including a game-high and career-high 25 points from freshman forward DeMar DeRozan.

The #6 seed in the tournament, USC beat Cal, UCLA and Arizona State to capture the title and the automatic invitation to the NCAA tournament.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Creampuff Upsets

This is a difficult time of year for hard-core college hoops fans. Many of the games being played are lopsided affairs between ranked teams and small colleges, so there really isn't much in the way of compelling basketball.

However, there have been a number of notable upsets over the past week that need to be highlighted.

Last Saturday, USC, ranked #9 by and #7 by me, got walloped by little Mercer College, 96-81, marking the first serious casualty in the top 25. USC needs to play a little defense apparently. Mercer shot 59% from the field and also hit 13-16 free throws. By contrast, the Trojans shot only 40% from the floor and 56% from the charity line. Obviously, more time in the gym working on fundamentals is ahead for these guys.

Another team with free throw problems is Texas Tech, my #25 preseason pick. The Red Raiders fell on Wednesday night at Sam Houston State, 56-54, missing four key foul shots down the stretch and hitting just 15-28 freebies for the game. They also were outrebounded, 44-32. Coach Bobby Knight will likely be running block out drills and extra free throw sessions for weeks.

On Friday, Memphis knocked off UConn, 81-70 in the Coaches Vs. Cancer Classic. I didn't rank UConn, but had them at #21 preseason. I still think the Huskies are toast this season and this result is just the beginning of what will be a 12-15 loss season for them.

Also on Friday, one of my sleepers, Providence, topped Arkansas. 67-51 (I had Arkansas ranked #14 and the Friars, #22. didn't rank either of them). Providence had beaten Temple 66-64 in Thursday's opening round of the ESPNU Puerto Rico Tip-Off, before topping the Razorbacks. Arkansas committed 32 turnovers in the game, while the Friars accounted for 15 steals. What really stands out is that neither team shot the ball very well. Arkansas actually hit 43% from the field to Providence's 38%. Sonny Weems, one of the Razorback stars, had only 3 points in 36 minutes. I don't know why the Friars weren't ranked preseason, but they've served notice that they should challenge some of the powerhouses in the Big East. I still think Arkansas is a pretty good team and they'll recover from this.

The Friars (2-0) will face Miami (3-0) in the championship game, Sunday night.

Friday, January 19, 2007

Oregon, UCLA winners; Arizona falls at USC

One upset out West, but maybe USC should be ranked.

USC 80 Arizona 73 - USC handed Arizona their 3rd loss in 4 games as Nick Young erupted for 30 points, hitting 13 of 19 from the field. The Trojans improved to 14-5 and 4-2 in the conference and now have wins over 4 teams which were ranked when they played them - Wichita State, Washington, Oregon and Arizona. USC has dropped decisions to UCLA (65-64) and Washington St. (58-55) in conference and an early loss to Kansas, but they are coming together at the right time.

As for Lute Olsen's Wildcats, their conference play is leaving much to be desired. The losses to Washington St., Oregon and USC - all in the past two weeks - came at the end of a 12-game win streak and they head to UCLA on Saturday. A win might keep them in the Top 25, but no matter what, they won't be at #11 where they are now.

And speaking of rankings, maybe the Washington St. Cougars deserve some votes. At 15-3, they already hold wins over Gonzaga, Arizona and USC, with losses to UCLA (55-52), Utah and Stanford, all road games. They're looking pretty serious right now.

Oregon 66 Stanford 59 - Aaron Brooks shot just 4-13, but hit all ten of his free throws and the Ducks tallied 30-37 from the line. The Ducks keep rolling along, the only hiccup in their 17-1 record an 84-82 loss to USC. #9 Oregon survived despite shooting only 31% from the field. It may have been ugly, but it still counts as a conference win.

UCLA 60 Arizona St. 50 - The Bruins turned up the defensive heat and held the Sun Devils to just 13 2nd-half points, reversing a 37-34 halftime deficit. Darren Collison led the way with 16 points to boost the #3 Bruins to 16-1 and a tie with Oregon at 5-1 atop the PAC-10 standings.

In other Top 25 games, #14 Duke routed Wake Forest, 62-40. It was the best defensive effort of the season for the Blue Devils who have won two straight since dropping a pair to Virginia Tech and Georgia Tech.

Nick Fazekas had 20 points and 10 boards as the #18 Nevada Wolf Pack improved to 17-1 with an 85-75 win over Fresno State. The win kept Nevada undefeated in 10 home games this season and ran their win streak to 10 overall.

There are no Top 25 teams in action Friday night. The Best matchup is 12-5 Georgetown at 11-6 Seton Hall.